May 17th, 2013 | by
Kelly was a nurse who had spent her career working with fragile, sick children in the NICU, and in pediatric home health. She was married to her husband of six years, and nearly done with a nurse practitioner degree. She hoped that once she finished her degree, they would start the process to build their family through adoption.
And then her husband came home one day and dropped the bomb. He was not in love with her anymore and wanted a divorce. He had met someone while traveling out of state, and wanted to enjoy the carefree bachelor days she had “robbed” from him when they met in their younger days. He then left to fly back out of state to resume the single lifestyle he had been craving.
To say she was devastated would be an understatement. She says, “Because I loved him so much it felt like my entire world had been thrown into a blender and I could see no way out.” She felt hopeless and suicidal. These feelings brought her to the hospital, but in lieu of admission, the psychiatrist allowed her to go home, as long as she was supervised 24/7 by friends or family, and as long as she attended the partial hospitalization program that met all day, five days a week. Surrounded by family and friends to support her, Kelly also was helped by the intensive therapy support in the program. She had sessions with the psychiatrist, individual counseling, group therapy, and occupational therapy to work on goal-setting and coping skills.
A caregiver her entire life, Kelly had a difficult time at first giving herself the nurturing that she had always lavished on sick children. Just as if she had a serious medical illness, Kelly had to take time off from work and school to focus on her emotional healing. Shortly after starting the program, and during a time when she still felt suicidal thoughts on a daily basis, she found an abandoned pit bull puppy while walking with a friend. She decided to rescue the abandoned puppy, and as it turns out that puppy rescued her instead. She gave her dog a middle name, Clarence, after the angel that saves George Bailey from suicide in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
With the professional help, help from loved ones, and from her beloved dog, Kelly was slowly able to envision a new life for herself. With a lot of encouragement, she finished her last class to complete her degree. A year later, despite the fact that she is now divorced, she is happy again. She says, “More than 100 friends and family gave me encouragement to battle my demons and depression and decide to keep living one minute more. Minute by minute, it has now been over a year. I don’t live by minutes anymore.”
According to the CDC, almost 4% of the US population reports suicidal thoughts in the past year. Depression, and the suicidal thoughts that may accompany it, can happen to anyone. If you have suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 911, or go to the nearest emergency department.
May 13th, 2013 | by
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To bring light to Anti-Stigma, members of our Health Services team will reflect on their own careers and the fight against stigma. For updates, subscribe to NAMI’s Stigmabuster Alerts.
By Jennifer Dozer, RN, Patient Care Coordinator, Behavioral Health
I remember my first day as a student nurse on the psychiatric unit. We had each been assigned a patient, and were supposed to spend a few minutes talking with them and assessing their psychiatric symptoms.
My assignment was easy. I had been given a 20-something woman, who had experienced the devastating loss of a child and was severely depressed. She was actually pleasant and very forthcoming about her troubles, and I finished my interview fairly quickly.
My classmate Sharon was another story. Her patient was a man in his 40s who had had a rough night. Shortly before we started our clinical shift, he had been escorted to the seclusion room, medicated, and placed in restraints. Her assignment was to assess his symptoms and provide the constant monitoring and checking required when a patient is restrained for his own safety.
He was very upset. He frequently screamed at the voices he heard -voices that were saying terrible, scary things to him. He truly believed the people around him wished him harm, and that he was fighting for his life.
Not only was he frightened, but Sharon was frightened as well. After an hour, her time with her patient was done, and we all huddled in the break room talking about our experiences.
“My Grandma used to say people like this had demons inside them”, she said. “And now I believe it is true. He had to be talking to demons.”
“But you attended lectures just like the rest of us,” I challenged. “This is a disorder of the brain.”
“Well”, she hedged. “Maybe the brain disorder just makes him more susceptible to a demon’s influence?”
It’s shocking to think anyone can still hold this belief even in the 21st century, especially someone training to be a health care professional, but she was not the only one nodding in agreement that day.
Fear is an incredible motivator. It can motivate us to ignore the evidence of reason. It can motivate us to avoid seeking the help we need when we are ill.
Psychiatric disorders often carry the extra burden of stigmatization while, at the same time, getting enough social and community support can be integral to achieving recovery.
Educating yourself about the facts, so that you too can help educate others, is one way to chip away at the misconceptions we all may have about mental illness.
A year or so after this incident, I was working in a community outreach program. My clients were all adults with serious mental health diagnoses. Part of my role was helping people form social bonds and re-integrate into the community after hospitalization. I took one of my clients, Sue, to a social club that was organized by other people with mental health diagnoses.
As we walked in, the leader for the day walked up to us and introduced himself. He asked me which center I went to, and it suddenly occurred to me that he was assuming that I, like Sue, was also a mental health consumer. There was a heartbeat of a second when I had to decide whether to correct him or just go with the flow, and wear that label for the next few hours.
What would you decide? If you find the idea of wearing that label uncomfortable for even a short period of time, imagine how someone who must carry that label for a lifetime must feel. The truth is, the way we speak about and act socially towards people with psychiatric illnesses can discourage people from seeking help, in order to avoid that socially unacceptable label.
What did I choose to do? I went with the flow and acted as Sue’s wing-woman for the night. No stigma allowed.
For updates on the fight against mental health stigma, subscribe to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Stigmabuster Alerts.
Mar 18th, 2013 | by
As soon as the weather warms up, people head outdoors. Whether it’s doing yard work, cleaning out the garage, taking a bike ride or walking the dog, there’s something about those first few days of spring that helps us all get moving, especially after the winter we’ve had this year. And there are quick and easy ways you can add activity to your daily routine.
Here are five tips to help you and your family ‘spring’ into wellness:
1. Buy a pedometer.
Wear it every day to count the number of steps you walk/run. Did you know it’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps per day? That’s a lot more than you realize. By wearing a pedometer, you may find that you have a little more motivation to take the stairs instead of the elevator or to park a little farther out at the grocery store than you normally would. Most pedometers are very affordable and range in price from $10 to $30 depending on the model and features.
2. Drink plenty of water.
How much water should you drink every day? Take your total weight and divide it by two. That’s the number of ounces you should be drinking per day. For example, if you are male that weighs 184 pounds, you should be drinking 92 ounces of water a day. That’s 11 1/2 eight ounces of water. Water makes up 60% of your body weight and is important for your body to function – flush toxins out of organs, carry nutrients to your cells and provide a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Doctors recommend that an average, healthy adult drink at least 8 – 9 cups (8 oz) of water each day. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake, check with your doctor.
3. Make time for fun and relaxation.
We all live very busy lives. Trying to balance work, raising kids, volunteering, paying bills, attending events and doctor appointments can certainly be challenging. However, if you regularly make time to have fun and relax, you’ll be in a better place to handle stress.
- Set aside relaxation time. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
- Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for activities that make you happy – taking photographs, playing an instrument, or working out.
- Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. Laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
4. Get more sleep.
Lack of sleep means your body is working extra hard to do its everyday jobs. If you feel like you need to consume extra sugars and caffeinated drinks to make it through your day, you may not be getting enough sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night is best for a healthy, active lifestyle.
5. Visit your doctor regularly.
Most people only go to the doctor when something is wrong, but it’s very important to see your doctor at least once a year, whether you’re sick or not. Preventive care can help detect warning signs of heart disease, cancer and stroke – three of the biggest threats to your health.
Resources: Mayo Clinic, Humana, WebMD
Feb 5th, 2013 | by
We are honored to be ranked #81 nationwide among 872 organizations with more than 1,000 employees on WorkplaceDynamics National Top Workplaces list. The list was then narrowed down to the top 150 companies nationwide.
Dec 31st, 2012 | by
As part of our annual employee Holiday Giving Tree, we recently coordinated the donation of more than 1,000 shoes and socks to three Ohio non-profits – Shoes 4 the Shoeless in Dayton, YWCA Emergency Shelter in Columbus and Shoes and Clothes for Kids in Cleveland.
According to our Foundation Director, Cathy Ponitz, “Our employees are some of the most giving individuals I have ever seen. Whenever we identify a need, they always step up to help. This is an amazing accomplishment—especially at such a busy time of year.”
A majority of low-income and homeless children in Ohio do not have shoes that properly fit. Many are well-worn and provide insufficient protection from the weather.
Kris Horlacher, Executive Director of Shoes 4 the Shoeless explains, “Most people have no idea that this need even exists. In fact, they are shocked. Not only do we constantly see kids that don’t have the proper shoes to protect them from the weather, but we also see the unnecessary physical and emotional distress that is brought on from wearing socks and shoes that don’t fit or are not fit to wear. Our goal is simple, to provide new gym shoes and socks to children in desperate need. Organizations like CareSource help us do just that.”
Since 2010, approximately 11,000 Dayton area children have received new gym shoes and socks from Shoes 4 the Shoeless.
Earlier this year Shoes 4 the Shoeless was the recipient of a $10,000 grant through the CareSource Foundation’s People’s Choice Grants program. Each quarter, the Foundation contributes $10,000 to one nonprofit organization that is nominated and voted on by CareSource employees.
Thank you to all of our employees for helping such a worthy cause and making a difference every day. Have a blessed 2013.
Nov 12th, 2012 | by
With all the hubbub on the Internet lately about Honey Boo Boo and her rather interesting diet (Mountain Dew for a young child?), it begs the question- what should children be eating throughout the day?
Children’s nutritional needs will change as they grow, but it is always important to emphasize fresh, whole foods no matter what the age. You can go to the American Heart Association’s website to learn exactly what your child should be eating, depending on age and whether they are a girl or a boy.
How do you know if your child is at a healthy weight? Try one of these calculators to find where they land on the growth charts. You can bring the results to your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns.
What exactly does a day’s worth of meals look like for a preschooler?
Half a cup with whole grain cereal with milk and a piece of fruit.
Whole grain bread with meat, cheese, or nut butter, fresh veggies, yogurt with fruit, a piece of fresh fruit, and optional treat. Children do not need sweet treats every day.
Sorry Honey Boo Boo, but water or low-fat milk is the preferred beverage. It is better to eat fresh fruits rather than juices. If your children do not like plain water, try putting a slice of fruit or homemade flavored ice cubes in their water.
Fruit is a perfect snack. So are fresh veggies, for that matter!
Dinner is a palm-sized amount of meat or beans, a one-half to one cup serving of vegetables, and a couple ounces of whole grains. (Pictured above, turkey breast roasted in apple cider and stuffing made of wheat bread and apples.)
If you need more ideas for meal plans, you can go to Choose My Plate. For snack ideas, try 100 Days of Real Food. Don’t forget, fresh foods don’t necessarily mean lots of preparation time! Apples and bananas are nature’s original convenience foods.
Nov 2nd, 2012 | by
Every quarter, we hold All Staff meetings to provide news and updates to our employees. Our most recent meeting was one to remember. To kick it off - in the spirit of Halloween - 20 of our employees volunteered to do the Thriller dance to open the meeting. Our internal communications team held weekly rehearsals to get them ready, but they had to keep it a secret until October 31. It was a huge undertaking.
The crowd cheered with suprise as they entered the stage. People are still talking about it and now want to do a “jig” at every All Staff. CareSource is certainly a great place to work.